Assumptions can be a dangerous thing. Often, sales, marketing and PR teams make assumptions that not only undermine integrated marketing efforts, but the viability of the business itself.
Marketing Team Assumptions About Sales
A marketing team might assume that content it is creating for sales teams proves invaluable to generating leads or closing sales. The fact is, however, a 2015 survey by Highspot indicates that 65 percent of that content is never actually used by the sales teams. That same survey indicates less than 10% of the marketing budget goes to efforts that produce sales results.
An effective integrated marketing effort requires a two-way conversation between marketing and sales, and these conversations must happen frequently and with multiple members of the team. Sales executives can provide marketing leaders with a holistic view of market trends, sales team paint points, and competitive challenges, but on-the-ground sales troops are the ones who interact with existing and prospective customers every day. They understand nuances between different market verticals (i.e. – government buyer v enterprise buyer v non profit buyer), and what content is proving most valuable in meetings. Integrating that sales team feedback must happen before – not after – marketing content strategies are developed.
PR Team Assumptions About Sales
PR teams might assume that media coverage is creating “air cover” for sales teams to go in and close sales. But often this is not the case. First, PR and marketing teams may not understand the buyer “trigger point.” Too often, integrated marketing efforts attempt to solve a sales problem that doesn’t exist – or doesn’t exist yet. For example, a marketing team might assume that the primary paint point for sales is that competitor technology product offerings are positioned more strongly in the market, thus requiring content to demonstrate your product is superior based on price, performance, efficiency, etc.
This may be valuable; however, it is possible the more immediate sales team obstacle is that the buyer is stuck earlier in his/her decision journey. They may require content that educates buyers on why an underlying technology is more secure and superior to what is currently being used. There may be a lack of understanding on the company’s suite of offerings, or even credibility issues with the brand itself. Only through in-depth and frequent conversations with sales teams can you be sure that the content being created is optimized to the buyer trigger point, and timed correctly on the buyer journey.
Another false assumption often made by PR teams is that there is a process in place to ensure any media coverage generated or thought leadership content produced is funneled in real time to sales. The Highspot survey indicates otherwise, finding that 28% of content is never even found by sales, and that sales teams spend nearly one-third (31%) of their time searching for it. Highspot also found that 24% of companies have formalized marketing to sales handoffs, which helps explain why PR and integrated marketing content often never quite makes it to the individuals who can do the most with it.
Everyone company’s definition of “integrated” is different, but for organizations to truly benefit from valuable marketing content and efforts, it is critical to ensure sales teams are not on the outside looking in.